Skip to main content

Full text of "The red man's rebuke"

See other formats


wr.M.ux.. ;i-sii«a,-i»sjs, i i!i,..,jji.:i»i»«uiuia-, 



1 I r 

To the^niemory of 
^illiaifi Penn', Roger|Wil}iams, 
the late lamented ft 



Helen Hunt* Jackson,] 

and many others ifcw in Heaven, 

I 

Who conceived that Noble spirit of Justice 
Which recognizes the Brotherhood o| the 
Red Man, and to all others now living 
jDefenders of our race, I 
most gratefully dedicate this tribute of the forest.. 

Chief PokIgon. 



\y The ftutho-] 



My object in pi|blMMg th| ''Red M|n ? p Rebuke" of the tiark of the white birch 
tree, is out of loyalty to my own people, [knfl gratitude t| the Great Spirit, who in his 
wisdom provided fir our use for infold iterations, thi| most'remarkable tree with 
manifold b*k usecl by us insteafl of papel being of grlater value to us as it cotild 
not be injured by sun or water. j ' 

t Out of the bark of thfc wonderful tree were made hats, caps and d|shes for do- 
mestic use, while our mJdens tied with it thd kilot that sealed their tijarriage vow; 
wifewams were- made of if, as wellks large canbes that outrode the vioielt storms on 
lake and;sea; it was also used for light and fuel ajt our wax; councils and spirit dances. 
Originallf thJ scores of our northern lakes and sjreams wcafe fringed with it and ever- 
green, and thl White charmingly contrasted with the greenf mirrorecfjfrom the water 
was Indeed beautiful, but lik(f the red fnan this tree is vanishing from our forests, 

"Alas for jis ; ou| day is o'er 
Our fires a|:e tout |rom shore to shore ; 
No more f <3r As the wMd deer bounds- 
| TI|e plow is on our hunting grounds. 

TUb pale man's ax rings through our vf)ods, 
Tile pale man's sail skims o'er floods ; 
Our pleasant jprinas are jlry. | 
Our cMdiren4lookl)^ po|ver oplressed, 
Beyoni tfie mbimlains of the ^vept- 
Our childern gof-Io die." 



T 



THE RED MAN'S REBUKE. 



BY SIMON POKAGON 

I Pottawattamie Chief. 



- 



"Shall not one line lament our forest race, 
For you struck out from wild creation's face ? 
Freedom —the selfsame freedom you adore, 
Bade us defend our violated shore." 



In behalf of my people, the American Indians, I hereby declare to yqu f 
the pale-faced race that has usurped our lands and homes,^ that we have no 
spirit t6 celebrate with you the great Columbian Fair now being held in this 
Chicago city, the wonder of the WQrld. 

No ; sooner would we hold high joy-day over the graves of our departed 
fathers, than to celebrate our own funeral, the discovery of America. And 
while you who are strangers, and you who live here, bring the offerings of the 

I 



i i 



I 



i 



handiwork of your own lands, and your hearts in admiration rejoice over the 
beauty and grandeur of this young republic, and you say, * 4 Behold the won- 
ders wrought by our children in this foreign land," do not forget that this 
success has been at the sacrifice of our homes and a once happy race* 

Where these great Columbian show-buildings stretch skyward, and where 
stands this " Queen City of the West," once stood the red man's wigwam; 
here met their old mten, young men, and maidens ; here blazed their council- 
fires. But now the eagle's eye can find no trace of them. Here was the center of 
their wide-spread hunting-grounds ; stretching far eastward, and to the great 
salt Gulf southward, and to thfe lofty Rocky Mountain chain westward ; and all 
about and beyond the Great Lakes northward roamed vast herds of buffalo 
that no man could number, while moose, deer, and elk were found from 
ocean to ocean ; pigeons, ducks, and geese in near bow-shot moved in great 
clouds through the air, while fish swarmed our streams* lakes, and seas close 
to shore. All were provided by the Great Spirit for our use ; we destroyed 
none except for food and dress ; had plenty and were contented and happy. 

But alaSjjj! tie pale-faces came by chance to our shores, many times very 
needy and hungry. We nursed and fed them, — fed the ravens that were soon 
t6 Jpluck out our eyes, and the eyes of our children ; for no sooner had the 
news reached the Old World that a new continent had been found, peopled 



with Imother race pi m|n, than, locust-like, they swailfeB on all out 'coasts | 



■ and, like the cprioji cro|vs in spring, that in cinfles wheel and clarW tyig and 
I loud, and wilJnot cease until they find akd feaslj upoh th<| dea<y.so th*se 
strangerl from the East long circuits made 1 , and turkey-like thev gobbled in 
our ears, 1 " Qiv^ us gold, give uslgold ; " Where fix^i you gold ? \ Whfere fina 

lyou gold I "V | | l I 

We gave for |romis|s and "gewgaws" all tfie gold |we fe4'A n « 4 lowed , 
them Jvhere to dig for more|; to| repay jus, they robbed) our hoihis of fath- ( 
ers, mothers, sons, and daughters; some were foraed across fhe|s<|a f<Jr . 
slaves in Spain, awhile multitudes were dragged intd th<j mines to jdjg for! 
gol4 and held ill slavery! there untillalljwho escaped not, died under the 
lash^of the cruel task-maler. It' finally passedjinto their hjstory that, "the 
red man if tHp iWest, unite the blalk man of the Ealt, (will die tfefc^re lie '11 
tL a slave!" O* hearts were crushed by such base ingratitude ; and, ai the 
United States has nojv decreed, " No Chinaman |hall land upon oi£ stoles," 
so we then felt that no such barbarians as they, should.land orl ou\s- I 

In those days that tried ov| fathersi sonls, tradition) says^: "A crippled, 
pey-haired sire told his tribe that injtheVisilns oftthe night hf was lifted high 
}bov| the eaith, and in great wondel beheld a vast spider-web spread out c^fer 
e llnd from the Atlantic Ocean towjfcd the (setting sun. It^ network w^ 

1 1 I | I I I 



[3] 



I 



i 



made of rods of iron ; along its lines in all directions rushed monstrous spiders, 
greater in strength, ahdl larger far than any beast of epxth, clad in brass and 
iron, dragging after thejn long rows of wigwams with families therein, out- 
stripping in their course the flight of birdfe that fled before th^m. Hissing 
from their npstrils came forth fire and smoke, striking terror to both fowl and 
beast. The red men hid themselves in fear, or .fled away, while the wMte men 
trained these monsters fqr the war path, as warriors for battle." J 1 I 

The old msm who; saw thi vision claimed it meant that the Indian race 
would surely pass idway before the pahs-facefl strangers. He died a 
martyr to his belief. Centuries have passed since that time, and we now be- 
hold in the vision as in a mirror, the present net-work of railroads, and the 
monstrous engines with their fire, smoke, and hissing gteam, With cars attached, 
a£ they go sweeping through Jpe land. | fr i t 

The cyclone of civilization rolled westward ; the forests of tmtold centu- 
ries Were swept away; streams dried up ; lakes fell back frdm their ancient 
bounds ; and all our fathers once loved to g&ze upo^i wa$ destroyed, defaced^ 
or marred, except the sun, moon, and starry skies above, which the Great 
Spirit in his wisdom hting beyond their reach. 

Still on the storm-cloud rolled, while before its lightning and thunder the 
beasts of the field ' and the fowls of the air withered like grass before thq 




flame — were shot for love of power to kill alone, and left to spoil upon the 
plains. Their bleaching bones now scattered far and near, in shame declare 
the wanton cruelty of pale-faced men. The storm unsatisfied on land swept 
our lakes and streams, while before its clouds of hooks, nets, and glistening 
spears the fish vanished from our waters like the morning dew before the 
rising sun. Thus our inheritance was cut off, and we were driven and scattered 
as sheep before the wolves. ^%^»-jpipi-iii^-'»^ 
^*?i*or was this all. They brought among us fatal diseases our fathers knew 
not of ; our medicine-men tried in vain to check the deadly plague ; but they 
themselves died, and our people fell as fall the leaves before the autumn's 
blast. To be just, we must acknowledge there were some good men with these 
strangers, who gave their lives for ours, and in greatfjadness taught us the 
revealed will of the Great Spirit through his Son Jesus, the mediator between 
God and mo - But while we were being taught tff^g the Lord our God with 
all our heart, mind, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves, and ourchil- 
dren were taught to lisp, "Qur Father who art in heaven> haHowed be thy 
name," bad men of the same race, whom we thought of the same belief 
shocked our faith in the revealed will of the Father, as they came among us 
with bitter Oftthj upon their lips, something we had never heard before, and 
cups of "fire-water" in their hands, somethinfi^ we Had n^r seeQ before. 




They pressed the sparkling glasses to our lips and said," Drink, and you will be 
happy. M We drank thereof, we and our children, but alas ! like the serpent 
that charms to kill, the drink-habit coiled about the heart-strings of its victims, 
shocking unto death, friendship, love, honor, manhood — all that makes men 
good and noble ; crushing out all ambition, and leaving naught but a culprit 
vagabond in the place of a man. 

Now as we have been taught -.-to believe that our first parents ate of the for- 
idden fruit, and fell, so we as fully believe that this fire-water is tK *mfettfl- 
cider of the white man's devil, made from ^^Cnd^C^hat tree thatJ^a^St 6 
death into the world, and all our woes. The arrow, the scalping-knife, and 
the tomahawk used on the war-path were merciful compared with it ^ they 
were used in our def eSe/ W accursed drink came like a serpent m the 
form of a dove. Many of our people partook of it without mistrust, as 
children pluck the flowers and clutch a scorpion in their g^ip ; only when 
they feel the sting, they let the flowers fall. But Nature's .children -ha^yjft 
such power ; for when the viper's fangs they felt, they onljphuggcd the reptile 
the more closely to their breasts, while friends before them stood pleading 
with prayers and tears that they would let the deadly serpent drop* But all 
in vain. Although they promised so to do, yet with laughing grin and steps 
uncertain like the fool, they still more frequently guzzled VfiWn this hellish 



r 



i 



the charge, we declare to aL t|e *ra were kind outspoken, 

^He.Ten. that before the white W^^S^^ beca se we have 
- **** % ^^ie^^tt^ -We honesty 
h^S^f^^Prei, who are permitted toUttend 
andei Aood them The tewoi |u histories, hovz 

J school in great Pride teU W thai they read m y . 
WUlii Penn, a Quaker, and a g°^~r toT* m lU further, tha| 
of Indians, and that neither he nor they - « J Quakers, not a 

Jtt«« nrv;^ Pennsylvania was contronea uy ^ v 
during seventy H1 rS ! ^^^ hoop sounded hfe P e pie. Your own 
drop of blood wa* shed nor ncarl - , lW o hundred years, different 

istorian., and oU tradi «ms, show f hat f| ja i L ^ ouf 

■iSiJ powers were tftfeg for Ue m^tery ntttte n ; w . .. _ ^ 

! i ^ kUUto different faction 



«o 



LC ill* <p LS "* Jt J ~ — L'j 



-zd the f olldwing 9 left oif record by Peter Martyr, wh& visited our fore* 



"It Is certain jfttat the land ! among these people Mas common as the sea and water, and 
that 'mine and thine," the seed of ail misejgr, have fo place with them. They are content 
with so little, thai m so large a country they have rather lk superfluitWthaa a scarceness: so 
that they seem tofive in the golden world without toil living in open g£urde4s not intrenched 
with dykes, dividgd with hedges, or defended with Walls. JThey deal truly Ine with another, 
without laws, wiliout books, without judges. The/ take him for an eviStand mischievous 
manl who take%lpkmsur# hx doing hurt to another, %sd ilbeit they delighjf not in superflui- 
ties Jyet they male provision for the increase of such roofs whereof they mike bread, content 
such simplf diet whereof health is preserved* and defease avoided/ I 

Your own histories show that Colunibus fa his first visit to out shores, 
wage -to the Mxtg and A queen of Spain, paid our forefathers this b@au|ful 
tribute : — 




lei: 
the' 



"They are loving uncove; 
ties there is not in thl world 
neighbors as themselves, and 
and fhough they be naked, y 

>ut a f|w years passed ai| 

shame, thi f clicking f acts 

"On thl islanfs of the Atlantic 



us people: so dfcile In all things that I s\ 
bettet race or a more delightful counti 
Ik is ever sweet and gentle! accomj 
anners ftr® dedbrous and prf isewort 




t2x to your mafes* 
They love ♦.heir 
mied with smiles ; 



ropr {historian^ left to be perused with 



it and in the populous empires of Mexico and Peru, 



the Spaniards, through pretense cp fifendship a$d religion,, gained audience with chiefs and 

I 



« 



1 



i 



kings, their families and attendants. They were received with great kindness and courtesy 
but in return they most treacherously seized and bound in chains the unsuspecting natives; 
and as a ransom for their release, demanded large sums^oJLgpld v/hich were soon given by 
their subjects. But instead of granting them freedom as promised, they were put to death in a 
most shocking manner. Their subjects were titfh hunted down like wild beasts, with blood- 
hounds, robbed and enslaved; while under-pwtext to convert them to Christianity, the rack, 
the scourge, and "the-4agot were used. Some were burned alive in their thickets and fast- 
— -wes&es forxef using to work the miTres^sts-€fevesJLL__. 

— — _ *' • V, 

Tradition says these acts of jpasc ingratitude were communicated from trbe 
to tribe tlirolgteiar the continent, a*d that a universal wail as one voice m 
up from all the tribes of the unbroken wilderness r < ' We must beat back these 
strangers from our shores before they seize our lands and homes, or slavery 
and death are ours." ' li \r 

Reader, pause here, close your eyes, shut out -from your heart all prejudice 
against our race, and honestly consider the above records penned by the pale- 
faced historians centuries a^o ; and tell us in the name of eternal truth, andbv 
all that is sacred and dear to mankind, was there ever a peopl without the 
slightest reason of offense, more treacherously imprisoned and scourged than 
we have been ? And tell us, \wv%*anmm+ despotism, violence, and slavery ever 
bev_n dealt out in ajipre w icked manner to crush ou t life and liberty ; or was 
ever a people more mortally offenefcd than our forefathers were ? 



L9] 



k 1 , Pt tfas arms of co^assion embrace and 
Almighty Spirit of ^^indict^eaess^nd cruelty, and »ave 

shield us from the charge of tr achery ^ ^ ^ state 

us from further oppression I ||d my & ^ ^ aS agen ts to deal 
- appoint no more broken-down or u^ppo" P ^ ^ ^ men who fear 
wiih us, but may he select good m en h.^a reinain for us if we 

-t to do the right. Tins to be in the hands of t*. 

w «^*t allowed to pray? All else """""^ ,. , — - 

gxeaire^blic j discovery of tfcis»««**^' e sto ° d 

-T-ITis clear that for years after the d £ ^ sculpto ,. ready 

before the coming strangers, as a W their gree d fof^td, the 

to be shaped into a statue of grace and beauty , trusted in them 

-block was hacked tn p irrrS .and cle^ro> ^ t blind , swallows each 

with all our hearts ; atf^ ^SSillil they said. -They showed 
Wen by the P^§^£**Ll*^ and as its needle 
us the compass that guided loo £eTupon it as a thing |T 

^wung to and fro only resting -the- . undersUn d :; the lighting and 
m fr om the eternal^ ^ "^^ ons of the gods ; nor could we 
thunder of their guns, believing they ^ ^ ct tinie in which the 



fathom their wisdoi 



[ i" 1 



sun or moon should be 



revered, 1 
i&other 



yes, we 



d sir idned 



hen ;e we 1c oked 



upon thei ci as diivihe ; we j 
rustsd i i thenfr, as infbnts trust in tl e an 1S p ^ei 

Bift agJin and again was our < onfidence betray id, until we were 
to know tnatj greed for gold' was all the balance -yheel they had. 

attt'o; 



b 




%hi 

fr4mjthc| h 



coir pelledj 
Th e rem- 

asts ard now wild and keep beyond Jtpe arrow's reachi the low 
in aijr, thi fis i hide t lemselves in deep' waters. We pave teen driven 
of I cfhoodl and from thi buiiil placdi of otr kindred 

fmfcll itudes 



41 plac 

, ■vherejmtilt 

dying 

day lon£, w&en ilight cpmfcs on, weary 



land 



I irony ine n epics 01 ©ur cmic nooa anu iram in< : uuriai piacep ut u 
arm friends J andJ scattered fi r we stward into d isertJ places, fcvhere 
have died from pomesicknass , col< , anji hunger anc Jar^ sufering 
still for (want of fcood aiyl bia ikfcts . 

As tie hunled dejbr fcloJe chksed a 
and tired, HeJdownj tol rest, mourning for jcompanions £f thelmbrning herd, 
all scattered, Ideal, janl gone, (so wie through weary years have tried to find 
some|j>lac| to safefly relt. But all In vain I Our throbbing hearts unceasing 
say, 'WThJ hounds ard howling Ion oprl tracks. 99 Opr sid history has been 
told oyj weeping parentsjtopheir children from! generjuioni to {generation ; apd 
as the Rear of tfie fox in the duckling is hatilfed, softht wrongs we have sjaf- 
f cred are tjransnptted to |>ur childreij, and they[lool^ uyop the wjiip pan wit 

mi 




'distrust sis soon as they are born. Hence our worst acts of cruelty should be 

J 1 j L-^ im.-i:^JL — ity, as being but the echo of bad 



viewed by all the world with Christian 
treatment dealt vnt to 1 us. 



Th^reforJ w^pray'iDmr critics everywhere to be not like the thoughtless boy 
who ccindeikns tljie toiling h«s wherever found, as vindictive and cruel, because 
in robbing their homes he once received the poisoned darts that nature gave 
for their defense. Our strtiii^est defense against the onward marching hordes, 
r|ali5§e is as useless as the struggles of a lamb bdrne high in air, 



we xu 



pierceid 



little cpfs, if or smiks of 



i heart, in the talons of an e^ 
shall be hajppy here any more ; we gaze into the iacA^ of our 



ancjjr to please, and into iihe faces of our young men 
and rctaidens, for joys of you^h to cheer ac'vsmclng age, but alas ! instead of 
smiles of jof we find ;but look^ of sadneks there. Then we fully rcalizi in tke 
anguish of ofr souls that their young anl tender hearts, in keenest sympathy 
with :ours, hspve -drank in th<5 sorrows we have felt, and their sad faces reflect 
it ba<ik to us again. No rainbow ofjpfcomis^ spans the dark cloud of our affiic- 

pci\ ar^ painted on oiir ftnidnight sky. We only l&tand 
if Watch and wait to see the future deal with us no better 
) chter of sympathy is igiven us ; bi|t in an^w to our com- 
triumph||d march cf the Eastern race westward is by 



tiQfts > no chfc 
wiilht folded at 



told th 




4 e ^ 



1 



be unalterable decijbe bf nature, tei mfed bithemi" the survival of th| fittest."! 

id so we stand as upln tjie sea-sHoik ctkined panel and foot, while the in- 
coming tjdegof the great qc< an ctf civilization ris&s slowly but surely to over- 




i 



the forest prill lave jfe.ss|d 
re Tfche-b«i-yo|-booi tie 



whelm us. V 1 . 

But a few morJ generatio i4 arid the last chil| 
into the | world beyond — f-h td that kingdoi 

Great Spirit, dwelleth, 4rljo| loveth justice arid mercy,|and hateth' evil ; f wHo 
has declared the | 4 fittest) y -'ti&|-h|s kingdom shSall be those alonek that h(|ar and 
aid his childlen |rhen thejy dry, and tiat love h^n'and ^eepj his |onlmai|l- 
mqits. In tpat kingdpili { mzp.y <k our people in faith believe He will summon 
thipale-facJl spirits m> 't^kcl position on hislleft," andjtlte re|i spiritte upon his 
nAt, and that he will say, '"Sons aiid daughters bf tl|e fcjrfcst, ycfur prayers 
foildelh&rance from the iron heel If oppression through centuries past are 
recorded in this book now ©peii before me, $iade f|om the Hark of the |phite 
birch, a |ree under wMch for generations p|st youl have mourned .and wept. 
Oniits pages sileritly ijafs beek recorded your sad history. 1 IX has jtolched . fay 
he|rt with pity a|d I ^ill have (|ompass on| " 

n hen turning to hMleft fye will say, 'fSons arid |aughters|of the East, all 
he|r and give heed tahjto my words. Wnill on c arth I did great and marvel- 
ous things for yc u I ga^e ii|y (|nly S^n,|vrho| declared unto you nfy 'will, 



! r T "2 



|fcp4 A few of F ou iaU m the gospel 

, re gardiess q| race ' or color t » '.FF the ^emptioW of 

J " meir part or, earth to redeem Ja e |{ Iy tllose can' 'rise who 
The - drum Mall be sounded a nrf • Ve the fa "en." f ° 1 

l t T ut a scattering fpUr <. • i , \ ■ 1 it i- c » '' an ^ to onr <&v,» 

bcho through the Vault' J 'i ^ . ,:l I. ° Ur S Pf" 

^aven as they sing) 



some 



rec}l0 trough the 
hath ^deemed and 1 savld J. 



Thjsn the Great .Sp 



sh amci-f aced 



'Wt.Will speak with i' 



. If ^ar thfe songs 4 
GI ° r ^ to high** who 



.urot! 



mm 







-v^aiie^'reari^e 




n!i' 






11 that you 




s ^y£ butch 












ie ''grid 1 - flcK 



( ^o| thunder to the remaining 

fe^reat^ erc y! that y di hav! 
)&n*» 'tu' ; ^ ;v' v *t ' * uvc 



ade or 



l g made ;waiitb 



and 1 



on 



beast. You found it with the red men, wfio used it only in smoking the pipe 
of peace, to confirm their contracts, in place of a seal. But you multiplied its 
use, not only in smoking, but in chewing, snuffing, thus forming unhealthy, 
filthy habits, and by cigarettes, the abomination of abominations, learned 
little children to hunger and thirst after the^ father and rS5!Eer of palsy and 

cancers. >iSfii£ 

u t find you guilty of tagging after the pay agents sent out by the great 
chief of the United States, among the Indians, to pay off their birth-right cteims 
to home, and liberty, and native lands, and then sneaking about their agencies 
by deceit and trickery, cheating and robbing them of their money and goods, 
thus leaving them poor and naked. I also find you guilty of following the 
trail of Christian missionaries into the wilderness among the natives, and when 
they had set up my altars, and the great work of redemption had just begun, 
and some in faith believed, you then and there most wickedly set up the idol 
of man-tchyft^in-to (the devil), and there stuck out your sign, SAMPLE 
ROOMS. You then dealt out to the *ons of the forest a most damnable drug, 
fitly termed on earth by Christian women, a beverage of hell, 1 which de- 
stroyed both body and soul, taking therefore, all their money and blankets, and 
scrupling not to take in pawn the Bibles given them by my servants. 



<<-¥feerefore know ye, this miic^T- abused race shall enjoy the liberties of 
these happy^bunting- grounds, while-4 teaclTtlaem my will, which you wwe in 
duty bound to do while on^ earth. Bert insj^d, you blocks*" up tffET highway, 
that led to heaven* that the car oFsalvation mighW&ot ^#®s over. Had JPBtt—* 
done your duty, they as well as you w o uld now be re joking in glory with my 
■■ gfti nt s^ffH whom yjQfl* fluttering, tried this dry in^An to rise. But now I say 
unto you, Stand back ! you shall not tread upon the heels of my people, nor 
tyrannize over them any mdWf" Neither shall you withj^ling-gun or other- 
w ise disturb or breaE^u^^fffeir prayer-meetings in camp any more. w *^ T either 
shall you practice with weaponSHBS lightaing and thunder anymore. Neither 
shall yo3 SB fee flW ^Bacco in any shape, way, or mSHHfcr. NeithertfeJl you 
touch, taste, handle, mak©f buy, or sell anything that can intoxicate any more. 
And know ye, ye cannot buy out th« law <5TSkulk by justice Jafilg ; and4fi*eny 
attempt is made on your part«*««feneak these commandments, I shall forthwith 

v a vfifittBBKBBBiBaitir 

ant tnese red men oi America g r @aij^ower, and delegate to cast you 

out of Paradise, and hurl you headlong through its outer gates into the^i^dla&s 
byss i wwc ath.— ffi^beyond^^gjEse darkness meets witff'hght, there to dwell, 
andthus shut you out from my presence and the presence oj^^gels^^d the 
i of heavelTlforever an4*«£er." 




As the hunted deer close chased all day long, when night 
weary and tired, lies down to rest." 




"As the fear of the fox in the duckling is 
wrongs we have suffered are transmitted to our cli 



, so the 



99 



• 



A